Once the realm of just science and technology, robots now are turning up more and more in the world of fine arts, making appearances in art exhibitions, creative promotional campaigns, and even on stage in the theater.
A recent art exhibition at Davidson College in North Carolina featured several robotic installations specifically aimed at fostering interaction between visitors and robots. In one, five appendages with skeletal-looking hands mounted on a wall follow and point at onlookers who enter the room. When they sense a smile, the arms wave.
In another, three helium-filled balloons carry houseflies in chambers hanging from each blimp. A robotic system determines the movement of the blimps based on the movement of the swarms of flies inside each chamber.
We've collected examples of some of the other ways designers and artists have integrated robots into the creative arts. Click on the "Nerdbot" below to start the slideshow.
A Missouri couple has built an entire online business out of creating and selling art-inspired robots. Their site, Nerdbots, features a number of robots made out of found and unusual objects. Fanfare, pictured, consist primarily of the parts of an old rotary telephone. Most of the robots are crafted from objects the couple finds in antique and thrift stores and are priced in the $250 to $300 range. (Source: Nerdbots LLC)
Whether it was their intention or not, the creators of the Davidson College robots are actually dealing with that slippery concept known as the "uncanny valley" (where humanoid robots give people the creeps). By sensing smiles are reacting positively, I would think they're helping to alleviate that creepy feeling. Nice slideshow, Liz.
I am very impressed with all the creative ways robots are used in this slideshown for artistic applications. I especially liked the "skeletal-looking hands" which were 'creepy' until you smiled and also the use of robots as actors. (Maybe the actor's union will object to this application...)
This is very impressive, this shows how much robots are influencing our lives. They are not only targeting our needs, like in industry or government sector, but are also making impact on our every day lives.
I agree with all of you that this slideshow is pretty cool, if I do say so myself! I have to admit it was really fun to collect the photos and I learned a lot about projects I wasn't even aware of. Actually, Chuck that is a good question about the sleep art. Ann originally covered this (I think the link to the story is in the caption) so maybe she can weigh in. But I imagine it could be that the art is erratic if your sleep is. There is an iPhone app now that does what the robots did--you can try it and see what it comes up with!
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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